College of Liberal Arts

Lecture Examines "Miss HIV"

Tuesday Sep 29, 2009 7:00 PM | WEL 1.308

Neville Hoad, associate professor of English, will present a lecture about the new "Miss HIV."A controversial and paradoxical figure, Miss HIV reveals new insights into gender and sexuality. What work does Miss HIV do in the imagining of a human face for the pandemic and for whom? The first appearance of a Miss HIV is in Canadian film-maker John Greyson's 1993 AIDS musical "Zero Patience."

The second case-study is an actual pageant called Miss HIV Sigma Free, first held in Botswana in 2003, and the third topic of the discussion will be the film documentary "Miss HIV," in which the Botswana pageant serves as a foil for the promotion and resurrection of the Ugandan "Abstain, Be Faithful, Use a Condom" HIV prevention campaign of the 1990s, commonly known as the ABC strategy.

The lecture will also argue that the figure of a Miss HIV beauty/drag queen does very different kinds of representational work in these respective contexts while suggesting that the incarnations of this figure share an investment in making the pandemic intelligible for their imagined audiences in ways that engage and contest a range of epidemiological and policy arguments in their respective places and times. These incarnations of Miss HIV are irreducibly local and simultaneously important in the creation of expanded global awareness about the pandemic.

Hoad is a member of the steering committee of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the university's School of Law. He is the author of "African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality and Globalization," and co-editor of "Sex and Politics in South Africa." He is currently working on a book on the literary and cultural representations of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

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